The court-validated chairman of Ekiti Trade Union Congress (TUC), Raphael Olaiya has been compulsorily retired from the civil service over his comment on receipt of the bailout funds by Governor Ayo Fayose’s administration.
Olaiya, whose ‘compulsory retirement’ took effect from 22nd February 2016, was also demoted from the rank of Principal Legal Officer Grade Level 12 to the post of State Council Grade Level 10.
Government’s decisions were conveyed via a letter from the Civil Service Commission by T.G. Adejumo on behalf of the Secretary, a copy of which was exclusively obtained by our correspondent.
The TUC boss, who is due for retirement in March 2017, was accused by the state government of involvement in partisan politics.
The government alleged he “openly canvassed for a political party and its candidate during the 2014 governorship election,” an allegation Olaiya vehemently denies.
The state government set up an Administrative Panel, where Olaiya appeared and defended himself against the allegation.
The panel found him guilty of violating Chapter 3, Section 4, Rule 030424 of Public Service Rules 2014.
The immediate cause of Olaiya’s travail was an interview he granted print and electronic media last October, where he revealed the state government had received N9.6 billion as its share of the bailout funds.
But the government denied receipt at that time.
Olaiya had warned against diversion of the bailout funds, which he insisted must be used for the purposes it was intended.
He had won three cases in judgments delivered by the National Industrial Court, Akure Division, which affirmed him as the authentic TUC Chairman in Ekiti.
But the Fayose administration has recognised Odunayo Adesoye, an ex-officio under Olaiya as a factional chairman.
In an exclusive chat with The Nation in Ado Ekiti yesterday, Olaiya described his compulsory retirement and demotion as “victimisation of the highest order”.
He vowed that the punishment won’t stop him from fighting the cause of workers.
He alleged receiving anonymous phone calls and text messages threatening to kidnap and kill him but vowed never to succumb to intimidation from any quarters.
Olaiya maintained that by virtue of the court verdicts, he remains the authentic Chairman of TUC in Ekiti and accused the Fayose administration of flouting court orders.
Describing the government allegation that he was involved in partisan politics as “spurious, vexatious, oppressive and frivolous”, Olaiya said the panel set up to try him failed to prove the allegation. He said: “I want to say that as a civil servant, I never canvassed for any political party or any aspirant in whatever form whatsoever.”
On the allegation that he attended political rallies and meetings of a political party, he said “The allegation is baseless and it was an attempt to tarnish or soil my reputations and image as a union leader.
“All I want to say is that I have resolved to fight my cause at the National Industrial Court (NIC) because out of many available options to resolve dispute, I think the best option is to approach the NIC to ventilate my grievances.
“You can retire somebody but for you to demote that person is too harsh and inhuman and this is why I am approaching the Court for interpretation of what constitutes political participation as a labour chairman because I am still the extant TUC Chairman in Ekiti.”